Internal Motivation: How Introverts Can Make Good Habits Stick

Would you believe that the key to success in life is executing ideas and opportunities effectively?

Actor, writer, and director Woody Allen reportedly said that 80% of success is merely showing up. And simply showing up is the lowest possible rung on the execution ladder.

And although introverts are reputed to be great problem solvers and decision-makers, they sometimes don’t show up.

Your ability to complete and deliver an idea or product differentiates between failure and success.

This level of “showing up” is what I believe Woody Allen left out.

When introverts don’t show up, the loss of potential contributions is dire because they possess the reading, researching, and evaluation skills necessary to produce groundbreaking innovations.

So, we all lose when introverts allow their introversion and other factors to impede their societal contributions through intellectual property creation, literary publishing, and software development.

As a result, introverts must begin to create good habits that stick as the need requires.

To do this, introverts must train their minds to create good habits.

Cecelia Health, a virtual-first provider organization delivering integrated care, said:

Habits are essential to our health. They can make or break your chances of achieving and maintaining our lifestyle goals such as sticking to an eating plan, exercising regularly, and managing diabetes/other medical conditions, along with increasing quality of life and promoting longevity.

As an introvert, I can attest to developing good habits.

I have a friend who has been writing a book on customer service for the past year. To date, she has completed all the writing. She asked friends to proofread it, and even a graphic designer created the book cover. Guess what?  She still has not self-published it. At this point, I stopped asking about its status.

introverts developing good habits

Author George C. Clancy, in his book, “The Art of Self-Discipline: How to Get Things Done Easily,” lists ten reasons why individuals do not form the required habits to succeed by suggesting:

1. You are focusing on the wrong things or tasks. Sometimes, the thought of success and doing many things for your plan can get you to miss seeing the real or “Big Picture.”

2. Your project’s aims or goals are not clear.  What does your plan need? What do you want to see it do for your life? How does it look? Set your goals straight.

3. You think about what multiple projects can do for you compared to what they can do for your plan. You benefit from the success of your life’s plan, but it’s not about you.  If you only do what was fun, you wouldn’t complete your long-term plan. Many of the skill sets you must develop to succeed require learning new skills. How effective of a researcher are you? Do you know how to market your ideas?  Can you build websites to distribute your insights? All this and more requires you to increase your knowledge base.

4. You overload yourself with too much information that you fail to distinguish which ones are relevant to your plan. Pick out and use only the pertinent information. Otherwise, you will be confused and unable to complete your project timely.

5. Distractions can get the best of you. This means that having many things on your mind can keep you from focusing on your goals. And note that distractions are not just about other tasks you have in mind; distractions also include friends, socializing too much, and not being productive during business hours.

6. Disorganized and dysfunctional work system. Of course, this is understandable because having a disorganized system can significantly affect you and your plan’s success.

7. Too much negativity from yourself and other people affects you. If you let yourself be taken over by negative comments, such as not being good enough for the job or too much of a perfectionist, you can’t focus on what you want and what you must do.  In addition, if you procrastinate too much, this attitude will pull you down. Besides, making up excuses for not accomplishing something is very counterproductive.

8. Too much multitasking and very little single-tasking can seriously affect your productivity. If you take in and do too many things, you will be pulled away from your goals and merely spin your wheels.

9. You are too afraid to fail. Do you think of several strategies to succeed? Instead of being led to one significant achievement, you are a considerable collector of failed projects and tasks.  Failure should not be taken negatively. Failure should be your fuel to propel you towards success. But don’t throw a lot of projects on the wall to see what sticks. Choose the projects you are interested in, skillset, and warrant the greatest need in the marketplace.

10. Lack of strict rules and work ethics.  You should always have a strict set of rules to ensure that you can move according to your original plan. The less discipline you have, the more stringent you must be on yourself until you develop good habits.

The critical takeaway from Clancy’s list is to systematize the habit-forming process. In other words, fall deeply in love with forming good habits instead of doing what feels good or is leisurely.

There are many days that I don’t feel like exercising. I am not talking about the days when my body needs a break. I am referring to the times when I prefer to do something else.

I suddenly remind myself about how weight gain and laziness begin. Take one day off, take another day off, and suddenly 90 days have elapsed. And that’s where the challenge of getting back occurs. You traded exercise habits for leisure.

This is particularly true when it comes to selecting dietary lifestyles.

According to a report by the Humane Research Council, an animal advocacy organization, their survey showed that out of 11,000 Americans who had become vegetarians and vegans, 84% of them reverted to eating meat within a year.

And one-third of these individuals didn’t last more than three months.

Making good habits stick is discovering the result of what a habit produces.

Like an assembly line in a manufacturing plant results in a finished product, good habits should have the same outcomes.

And every habit should have a reason for existing, or it has no value. Good habits must be evaluated based on performance.

The process for making good habits is:

Discover or re-discover your purpose in life.

Indeed, the most potent aspect of developing good habits is your cause or your purpose in life. Your intellect provides why and what that habit produces. The best decisions and commitments are when they are intellectually sound and emotionally fulfilling. Once you combine these two dynamics, you have the basis for direction in your life. And emotional satisfaction is the fuel for nurturing a habit. The reason may be for the betterment of yourself and your family. And family happiness may be the emotional fuel that keeps you motivated. It is essential to anchor yourself to a motivation that promotes productivity.

Embrace a systematic mindset.

Many introverts are accused of being robotic because they do the same activities regularly. Many introverts consistently wear the same style and clothing colors, read books on a specific subject and write daily in a journal. No matter what’s going on in their lives, these activities are must-haves. Developing good habits is baked into the process by embracing a systematic mindset, lifestyle, and critical thinking method. You recalibrate and strengthen any shortcomings that have become a part of your hardwiring. In short, you are revamping your operating system, just like a computer.

Penalize yourself for taking shortcuts or lacking follow-through.

It has been said that fear of loss can be a more significant motivator than gain or acquisition. We fear pain and take pleasure for granted. Many people don’t follow laws because they don’t want to harm others; they follow laws because of the consequences of breaking them. Create regulations for self-enforcement if you break a habit. Don’t ever let violations slide by. Acknowledge all infractions and determine what will be done punitively. If you miss a workout, deprive yourself of a reward you would generally grant yourself for completion. No one will penalize you for developing bad habits as a self-governing individual. You will merely see the negative results reflected in your life.

It helps when you become your biggest ally in a cold, calculating, and cruel world. Developing good habits and executing strategic plans creates a life worth living without failure, regret, and turmoil.

Your life is the sum of your choices and the quality of your habits.

Become a servant to your good habits to never betray yourself.

—Kurt Faulkner

References

Clancy, G (2014). The Art of Self-Discipline: How to Get Things Done Easily. Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute.

Schultz, C. (2014, Dec. 9). Most vegetarians lapse after only a year. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3PkbVGN.

Understanding habits and why they are essential to our health. (2020, Dec. 9). Cecelia Health. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3Mi5C4J.

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